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Re: Elsie Dinsmore ?

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  • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
    Hi Lizzie, and welcome. That Scotsman is George MacDonald. Read him sometime -- you should. His work is deep and mythopoeic; Elsie Dinsmore is extremely
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 4, 1999
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      Hi Lizzie, and welcome. "That Scotsman" is George MacDonald. Read him
      sometime -- you should.

      His work is deep and mythopoeic; "Elsie Dinsmore" is extremely sentimental
      pious preaching, more typical 19th century didactic stuff. My mother used
      to mention the books, she'd seen at least one of them as a child, and you can
      find stuff about them on the Web, but as far as I know, Elsie Dinsmore has
      not had a comeback in contemporary Christian kiddielit- though I could be
      mistaken. Where'd you find #1?

      Since you seem interested in Xty/Literature, you might also want to sub to
      the MereLewis list. I can get you the directions.

      Mary S
    • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
      Suspect the MacDonald title Lizzie was thinking of was =Sir Gibbie=.
      Message 2 of 13 , Dec 5, 1999
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        Suspect the MacDonald title Lizzie was thinking of was =Sir Gibbie=.
      • Berni Phillips
        ... (My e-mail connection would send for a day, so I m posting a bit late on this.) I hesitate to admit this, but I loved _Elsie Dinsmore_ as a girl. I felt
        Message 3 of 13 , Dec 5, 1999
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          ERATRIANO@... wrote:

          > My question today is, has anyone heard of the Elsie Dinsmore books by Martha
          > Finley?
          >
          > Lizzie "Princess Airhead"

          (My e-mail connection would send for a day, so I'm posting a bit late on
          this.)

          I hesitate to admit this, but I loved _Elsie Dinsmore_ as a girl. I
          felt akin to her in her spiritual struggles. What she was trying to be
          was how good Catholic girls were supposed to be. (Elsie definitely
          wasn't Catholic, but it was the same root-out-all-traces-of-sin
          mentality I grew up with.)

          I didn't find out until I was an adult that there was a series. I found
          out that a childhood friend of mine -- her family had moved away in
          junior high and she moved back into the area as an adult and we ran into
          each other at a party --collected them. Ironically, she's an athiest,
          raised by athiests -- the last person you'd think to be reading Elsie
          Dinsmore. I had gotten her hooked on the first book. (For those of you
          who haven't read Elsie, she tries to be the perfect little Christian
          girl, the perfect goody-2-shoes who turns the other cheek all the time.)

          I no longer have the original (it was a cheap paperback that fell apart
          years ago due to all the re-readings). Hmmm, maybe I should look for it
          and the sequels?

          Berni Phillips

          P.S. to Khazad-dum: I promise *not* to read from it at the Reading &
          Eating Meeting!
        • Berni Phillips
          ... Aaarrgghh! That should have been would NOT send for a day. I couldn t mail anything out. Never mind.
          Message 4 of 13 , Dec 5, 1999
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            Berni Phillips wrote:
            >
            > (My e-mail connection would send for a day, so I'm posting a bit late on
            > this.)

            Aaarrgghh! That should have been "would NOT send for a day." I
            couldn't mail anything out.

            Never mind.
          • ERATRIANO@xxx.xxx
            In a message dated 12/05/1999 7:11:36 PM Eastern Standard Time, bernip@ix.netcom.com writes: This sounds like something about
            Message 5 of 13 , Dec 5, 1999
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              In a message dated 12/05/1999 7:11:36 PM Eastern Standard Time,
              bernip@... writes:

              << Reading &
              Eating Meeting! >>
              This sounds like something about my speed! LOLOL.

              Berni: Did you see the website for Elsie? www.elsiedinsmore.com. Pretty
              easy. Good luck if you want to get books... I think availability comes and
              goes. They are also available on tape, I think, at least some are. If I do
              get the doll ever, I will then have an extra of the 1st one. And she's kind
              of next on my list of expensive toys LOL.

              It had occurred to me, despite my difficulties with the book, that since the
              characterization seems good, it might appeal to someone if it hooked them
              right. I just can't deal with the constantly-beaten-on-poor-little-girl
              thing, which come to think of it is probably just as much "period" as
              "religious," perhaps even more so... I am struggling on determinedly during
              my little snips of reading time. So does it get better?

              Lizzie
            • David Lenander
              I ve been sick and busy and haven t kept up with this list very well, but a few years ago we had some discussion of Elsie Dinsmore in _Once Upon a Time_, the
              Message 6 of 13 , Dec 6, 1999
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                I've been sick and busy and haven't kept up with this list very well, but a few
                years ago we had some discussion of Elsie Dinsmore in _Once Upon a Time_, the
                children's fantasy apa (no, we didn't think Elsie was a fantasy, at least not in
                our usual sense). Like Bernie, I liked the book when I read it in about 5th
                grade. I did read a couple of the sequels, too. My grandmother had recommended
                them, along with a book called _Merrylips_, which was a historical set in
                Commonwealth England, about a sweet little girl. I also liked Burnett's _A
                Little Princess_ and _Little Lord Fauntleroy_. But those books had a lot more
                character than Elsie, I'm afraid. I read most of the Beany Malone books about
                that time, too. I never could really believe in Elsie, though, because she was
                impossibly just too put upon and too good through it all. And all of her
                relatives, except for one cousin, were too uniformly horrible. Also, _Five Little
                Peppers_ (was there only one of those?).

                Berni Phillips wrote:

                > From: Berni Phillips <bernip@...>
                >
                > ERATRIANO@... wrote:
                >
                > > My question today is, has anyone heard of the Elsie Dinsmore books by Martha
                > > Finley?
                > >
                > > Lizzie "Princess Airhead"
                >
                > (My e-mail connection would send for a day, so I'm posting a bit late on
                > this.)
                >
                > I hesitate to admit this, but I loved _Elsie Dinsmore_ as a girl. I
                > felt akin to her in her spiritual struggles. What she was trying to be . . . .
              • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
                David has about given the wrapup on =Elsie Dinsmore.= I went back to the site I gave, btw, and it only gets through Chapters 3 and 4. Too bad. I was
                Message 7 of 13 , Dec 6, 1999
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                  David has about given the wrapup on =Elsie Dinsmore.= I went back to the
                  site I gave, btw, and it only gets through Chapters 3 and 4. Too bad. I was
                  looking for the famous chapter where Elsie sits on the piano stool, obeying
                  her father as far as possible but refusing to play on a Sunday, until she
                  faints and falls off (!) This made a great impression on my mother, who
                  recounted it to me, and also on Cornelia Otis Skinner, who in her
                  autobiographical reminiscences remembers trying a similar scene on her actor
                  parents, who were amiably mystified but tolerant.

                  I hope David's not putting FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS in the same bag. It has
                  spunky children with some interesting obstacles to overcome. Unfortunately,
                  in the first book, they really overcome them all (by being adopted into the
                  family of a rich gentleman) and the sequels never measure up, in my opinion.
                  To answer his question, there were several of these published, but most are
                  o.p., and I only found two of them at the library when I got in the mood to
                  look up the Peppers this summer. However, one of those I found answers the
                  interesting question, "Who did Polly Pepper marry?" -- and I can also give
                  those who haven't read the sequels the interesting information that Mrs
                  Pepper, too, married again.

                  I owned the first book as a child and read it with great interest, being an
                  only child myself and not having any intimate acquaintance with the kind of
                  hardscrabble poverty described in FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS. Also I was too young
                  to get a lot of the period references, and indeed, I am still mystified as to
                  why an "old boot top" should be one of Davy Pepper's prize possessions, how
                  cut-up leather could be used to mend a stove, or why, in a New England state
                  (Massachusetts, if I recall) where public education was perhaps more
                  prevalent than anywhere else in the country (and all praise to New England
                  for that), Mrs. Pepper keeps moaning on about not having any money for her
                  children to go to school.

                  Mary S
                • Berni Phillips
                  ERATRIANO@aol.com wrote: [re Elsie] ... I haven t read it in 30 years. I honestly can t remember how it ends. I just remember her earnest attempts at
                  Message 8 of 13 , Dec 6, 1999
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                    ERATRIANO@... wrote: [re Elsie]

                    > It had occurred to me, despite my difficulties with the book, that since the
                    > characterization seems good, it might appeal to someone if it hooked them
                    > right. I just can't deal with the constantly-beaten-on-poor-little-girl
                    > thing, which come to think of it is probably just as much "period" as
                    > "religious," perhaps even more so... I am struggling on determinedly during
                    > my little snips of reading time. So does it get better?

                    I haven't read it in 30 years. I honestly can't remember how it ends.
                    I just remember her earnest attempts at perfection, her uncle being
                    younger than her, and things like trying to write with the old-style
                    pens without making any blots to spoil her pages. It's more the
                    atmosphere I remember. I can't recall the plot at all.

                    Berni
                  • Berni Phillips
                    ... Indeed. (I also read a couple of the Pepper books.) What mystified me about money and school was _Girl of the Limberlost_ and trying to raise money to go
                    Message 9 of 13 , Dec 6, 1999
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                      Stolzi@... wrote:

                      > I hope David's not putting FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS in the same bag. It has
                      > spunky children with some interesting obstacles to overcome.
                      >
                      > I owned the first book as a child and read it with great interest, being an
                      > only child myself and not having any intimate acquaintance with the kind of
                      > hardscrabble poverty described in FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS. Also I was too young
                      > to get a lot of the period references, and indeed, I am still mystified as to
                      > why an "old boot top" should be one of Davy Pepper's prize possessions, how
                      > cut-up leather could be used to mend a stove, or why, in a New England state
                      > (Massachusetts, if I recall) where public education was perhaps more
                      > prevalent than anywhere else in the country (and all praise to New England
                      > for that), Mrs. Pepper keeps moaning on about not having any money for her
                      > children to go to school.
                      >
                      > Mary S

                      Indeed. (I also read a couple of the Pepper books.) What mystified me
                      about money and school was _Girl of the Limberlost_ and trying to raise
                      money to go to high school! Her mother, who was poor, considered it a
                      luxury.

                      Berni
                    • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
                      I am rather aghast at Christian homeschoolers of today exposing their children to Elsie Dinsmore s Mammy Chloe, who wears a spotless turban (of course) and is
                      Message 10 of 13 , Dec 7, 1999
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                        I am rather aghast at Christian homeschoolers of today exposing their
                        children to Elsie Dinsmore's Mammy Chloe, who wears a spotless turban (of
                        course) and is given to remarks like "Bress de Lawd, Ah knows Jesus loves
                        =me=, too, jes' the same as if Ah wuz white." Mammy Chloe can't even pore
                        over the Bible herself - Elsie has to read it to her.

                        I suppose the Girl of the Limberlost needed money for suitable clothes and
                        also transportation - didn't she live a long way from the high school? And I
                        think maybe in the old days you had to buy your textbooks even if the
                        education was free.

                        We were given ours, but had to turn 'em in at the end of the year, so some
                        got more battered books than others. We were also given, and required to
                        use, a set of fold-and-stick brown paper book covers printed up by the State;
                        I find that graven in my memory forever is the lead motto (for State Parks, I
                        guess) "Education and Recreation in the School of the Great Outdoors."

                        Never thought 'til now of the irony of reading this over and over as we sat
                        firmly imprisoned in the School of =Indoors=.

                        Mary S
                      • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
                        Since we are wandering somewhat afield just now, I ll mention F. Marion Crawford. Just finished an oldie I picked up in a local antique barn for 5 bucks. It s
                        Message 11 of 13 , Dec 7, 1999
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                          Since we are wandering somewhat afield just now, I'll mention F. Marion
                          Crawford.

                          Just finished an oldie I picked up in a local antique barn for 5 bucks. It's
                          THE WHITE SISTER by F. Marion Crawford, pub. 1912. Such a sentimental and
                          romantical brew, ala =Beau Geste=! The frontispiece is a picture of some
                          well-known actress of the time in the role of The White Sister.

                          Looked up Crawford on the 'net and it turns out he is remembered today only
                          for shockers, ghost-stories and the like ("The Screaming Skull" is one of his
                          top titles). One of the pages where I learned this is a set of links with
                          the engaging title "Gaslight Fiction" - this seems to cover everything from
                          shlockmeisters like Crawford to =real= writers of the period such as
                          Turgenev, Chekhov, or de Maupassant. I wonder who he was. "Francis Marion"
                          are two good first names for a South Carolinian.

                          Mary S
                        • WendellWag@xxx.xxx
                          In a message dated 12/6/99 5:07:13 PM Eastern Standard Time, Stolzi@aol.com ... Is this the book I think I remember? I probably read this somewhere between
                          Message 12 of 13 , Dec 8, 1999
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                            In a message dated 12/6/99 5:07:13 PM Eastern Standard Time, Stolzi@...
                            writes:

                            > I hope David's not putting FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS in the same bag.
                            > It has spunky children with some interesting obstacles to overcome.
                            > Unfortunately, in the first book, they really overcome them all (by
                            > being adopted into the family of a rich gentleman) and the sequels
                            > never measure up, in my opinion. . . I owned the first book as a
                            > child and read it with great interest, being an only child myself and
                            > not having any intimate acquaintance with the kind of hardscrabble
                            > poverty described in FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS.

                            Is this the book I think I remember? I probably read this somewhere between
                            1960 and 1962. By that point it was way out of fashion, so it was probably
                            something that my mother had read as a child and had sitting around. Even
                            then I found the idea that your best hope of getting out of poverty was to be
                            adopted by a rich man to be strange. I can't call my family poor, more like
                            struggling working-class. My father made enough working a job and a half
                            that we might have been middle-class if my parents hadn't been silly enough
                            to have eight kids.

                            If I'm remembering the right book, I found it funny when the kids in that
                            book talked about how "someday our ship will come in". I had never heard
                            that phrase before (in the meaning of "someday we'll make our fortune"). I
                            thought that was hilarious. I remember telling my mother, "Mom, our ship
                            just came in. Unfortunately, it hit the side of the pier and sank." Boy, I
                            was one snide, cynical little kid. But then I'm also one snide, cynical
                            adult.
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